Dr. Cornel West says that President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve to be sworn in for his second term as President of the United States with his hand on the bible of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You don’t play with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you don’t play with his people, said West. “By his people, I mean people of good conscience, fundamentally good people committed to peace and truth and justice, especially the Black tradition that produced it.
“All of the blood, sweat and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King, Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don’t use his prophetic fire for a moment of presidential pageantry without understanding the challenge he represents to all of those in power regardless of what color they are.
“The righteous indignation of a Martin Luther King, Jr. becomes a moment of political calculation. And that makes my blood boil. Why? Because Martin Luther King, Jr died…he died…for the three crimes against humanity that he was wrestling with. Jim Crow, traumatizing, terrorizing, stigmatizing Black people. Lynching, not just ‘segregation’ as the press likes to talk about.
“Second: Carpet bombing in Vietnam killing innocent people, especially innocent children, those are war crimes that Martin Luther King , Jr. was willing to die for. And thirdly, was poverty of all colors, he said it is a crime against humanity for the richest nation in the world to have so many of it’s precious children of all colors living in poverty and especially on the chocolate side of the nation, and on Indian reservations and Brown barrios and yellow slices and Black ghettos — we call them hoods now, but ghettos then.
“So I said to myself ain’t nothing wrong with putting your hand on the bible, even though the bible’s talking about justice, Jesus is talking about the least of these, but when you put it on Martin’s bible, I said ‘this is personal for me,’ because this is the tradition that I come out of.”
Dr. West continues to say that President Obama’s actions as president are in direct contradiction to the principles and beliefs of Dr. King, and then presents hypothetical questions that he would ask the slain Civil Rights leader if he were alive today:
“Brother Martin Luther King, Jr., what you say about the New Jim Crow? What would say about the Prison Industrial Complex? What would you say about the invisibility of so many of our prisoners, so many of our incarcerated, especially when 62 percent of them are there for soft drugs and not one executive of a Wall Street bank gone to jail. Not one. Martin doesn’t like that. Not one wire-tapper, not one torturer under the Bush Administration — all,” said West.
“Then what would he say about the drones on the precious brothers and sisters in Pakistan, and Somalia, and Yemen. Those are war crimes, just like war crimes in Vietnam, Martin Luther King, Jr., what would you say?”
This is not the first time that West has publicly offered some scathing commentary on the president.
As previously reported by NewsOne, West said that, while he’s happy that Mitt Romney didn’t win the presidential election, our foreign policy is still imperialistic, politicians should be ashamed of spending billions on campaigns while people are living in poverty, and that President Obama is nothing but a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.”
I think that it’s morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion—poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people. So we end up with such a narrow, truncated political discourse, as the major problems—ecological catastrophe, climate change, global warming. So it’s very sad. I mean, I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies.
When the president is sworn into office — for the second time — today, it will be a momentous day for the King family, according to MartinLuther King III.
“There’s a small, leather-bound Bible that holds special significance for my family. My father, Martin Luther King Jr., used it to prepare his first sermon as a pastor, at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama,” wrote King in an exclusive essay for TheGrio. ” He took it with him on the road, as he fought for freedom, equality, and opportunity. Today, the cover of that book has faded. Some of the pages are torn. No one has used that Bible since my father, and I never thought anyone would.